Reading & Literacy

Graphic Novels: Snooki in Book-form?

By Liana Loewus — August 08, 2011 1 min read

Hopefully, Bill Ferriter of The Tempered Radical found shelter in a comment-proof safe house before, in a recent blog post, calling graphic novels “the literary equivalent of Jersey Shore.”

He argues, with some anecdotal evidence, that graphic novels take away the need for students to think while they read. Further, he wonders (and worries):

Will students who are hooked on graphic novels ever be terribly excited about picking up a text where they've got to do the imagining on their own again? Think about it: Can YOU imagine trying to imagine—or wanting to imagine, or seeing a need to imagine—after discovering an entire genre where imagining just isn't necessary?

And Ferriter has received the expected backlash on his blog—though overall readers keep it both high-brow and respectful. One commenter calls him canon-snobby, while another claims he’s just plain wrong, saying:

Dismissing graphic novels as the equivalent of Jersey Shore is the same as dismissing detective short stories, or science fiction novels, or Canadian poetry, or Icelandic sagas, or any other genre/mode of literature as not literary enough.

The debate about graphic novels is not a new one. In an interview we did a few years ago, a high school teacher contended that graphic novels can actually enhance visualization.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.